Shining Path rebels attack military base in VRAE, two soldiers left wounded

At least two soldiers were wounded Monday in an attack apparently led by Shining Path guerrillas against a counterinsurgency military base in Peru’s isolated Apurímac and Ene River Valleys, or VRAE.

According to daily El Comercio, an undetermined number of guerrillas positioned in the surrounding hills opened fired on the military base at approximately 8:00 AM.

Corporal Rusbel Andrade Mozombite was shot in the arm and right leg, and private Juan Daniel Tapúllima Salas took a bullet in the back. Both are now in stable condition, and will soon be evacuated from the VRAE to Lima’s Military Hospital.

The Shining Path has been largely dormant since 2000. The once 10,000-strong Maoist rebel group nearly brought Peru’s government to its knees during the 1980s with car bombings, assassinations and brazen attacks on police and military outposts.

Although the group lost momentum following the 1992 capture of its founder Abimael Guzman – who is serving life in a naval prison – sporadic Shining Path attacks still claim lives every year.

The recent spike in deadly attacks is largely attributed to a fresh offensive by the Peruvian military, launched last August by Peru President Alan García.

The VRAE is located at the confluent river borders separating the rural departments of Ayacucho, Cusco and Apurímac. The zone is a hotbed for drug traffickers and their hired guns — mostly remnants of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency — who regularly carry out deadly roadside ambushes against police and assassinate local officials in retaliation for raids on cocaine processing labs.

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